By: Jason Gandhi
The NFL regular season has finally come to a close! There are 12 teams still playing and after this weekend only 8 teams. Although, I think the end of the season awards should not be done until the END of the season at the Super Bowl since they are done during the playoffs, we are going to do the same. Hope you enjoy!
MVP: Derek Carr
Derek Carr was in the conversation for MVP up until a Trent Cole sack with 11:02 left in the Week 16 game against the Colts. It seemed like at that time everyone immediately took him out of the conversation. The MVP stands for Most Valuable Player, not the player with the gaudiest stats or the highlight-reel plays. Derek Carr set an NFL record for five touchdown passes in the 4th Quarter or Overtime to win the game. He led seven game-winning drives. All in all, he might have missed the last five quarters of the season, but without the other 63 quarters he played in, the Raiders would not be playing the Texans this Saturday in the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Heck, just watch the week 17 game at the Broncos.
Offensive Player of the Year: Ezekiel Elliott
When reading this, you are probably thinking how is Derek Carr not the MVP and Offensive Player of the Year? Well, Carr was more valuable to his team but was not the best offensive player in the game. Elliott’s stats are fantastic for a rookie, but that does not even tell the whole story. He finished the regular season with 1,631 yards rushing and 15 TD’s. He led the NFL in rushing yards. Despite all of that, he also averaged 5.1 yards per carry. His other running backs in Dallas, Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden, and others, none of them averaged over 3.6 yards per carry. Zeke had a higher workload and yet a higher efficiency. Ezekiel Elliott burst on to the scene this year, and stole the show! There is no doubt Ezekiel Elliott is the NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
Defensive Player of the Year: Khalil Mack
Khalil Mack was the first player to be All-Pro at two different positions, so the spotlight is not new for him. The 3rd pick out of Buffalo in the 2014 draft, has established himself as one of the best pass rushers in the league. He finished with 11 sacks, 5 forced fumble and 1 interception. What Khalil did best this year was, he ended games for the Oakland Raiders. In consecutive weeks, he got a strip sack to finish the game. One of those came against the reigning NFL MVP. Mack can turn it on at any time, and stats actually show he is better in the 4th quarter than any other quarter. Khalil Mack is the winner of the Defensive Player of the Year, due to his ability to affect and completely change a game in just one play.
Rookie of the Year: Ezekiel Elliott
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Ezekiel Elliott
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Joey Bosa
Joey Bosa missed the first four games due to a hamstring injury as well as a contract dispute. Yet, he still had 10.5 sacks and finished second in sacks for a rookie in Chargers history. Bosa, out of Ohio State, came into the league not in the most glamorous way, but when he hit the field, he was an animal. He also tied the league lead for tackles for loss with 17. He was wreaking havoc, and there is not a better option for Defensive Rookie of the Year than Joey Bosa.